In this week’s New Statesman: Why Libya? Why now?

Mehdi Hasan: the limits of intervention | Robert Skidelsky: the dangers of Ricardian-Osbornism | Joh


In this week's New Statesman, we look at the costs and risks of the Libyan intervention. In our cover story, Mehdi Hasan asks if there is a contradiction in ordering air strikes on Libya while ignoring conflicts elsewhere, Olivier Roy says that Nicolas Sarkozy's bellicosity masks his lack of substance, Jonathan Derbyshire profiles Samantha Power, Barack Obama's "Valkyrie", and Jason Cowley looks at how J S Mill's writings can illuminate foreign policy.

Also this week, Robert Skidelsky looks at how the ideas of two dead economists, David Ricardo and J M Keynes, are shaping the cuts debate, Gavin Kelly asks how the coming tussle over tax cuts will play out, and David Blanchflower says that growth will continue to disappoint and Osborne's Budget will be a failure.

All this, plus Alice Miles on the distasteful trend of disaster tourism, John Gray on resource wars and Chris Mullin on lost prime ministers.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.